Nouns (0)

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Verbs (2)

catenulate, catenate
v. arrange in a series of rings or chains, as for spores

Adverbs (0)

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Adjectives (2)

catenulate, chainlike
adj. having a chainlike form; "catenulate bacterial cell colonies"

Fuzzynyms (0)

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Synonyms (15)

rod-shaped, rodlike
adj. resembling a rod
balled
adj. formed or gathered into a ball: "balled cotton"
biform
adj. having or combining two forms; "a biform crystal"; "the biform body of a mermaid"
blown
adj. being moved or acted upon by moving air or vapor; "blown clouds of dust choked the riders"; "blown soil mounded on the window sill"
botryose, botryoidal, botryoid
adj. resembling a cluster of grapes in form
cast
adj. (of molten metal or glass) formed by pouring or pressing into a mold
die-cast
adj. formed by forcing molten metal into a die; "a die-cast seal"
perfected
adj. (of plans, ideas, etc.) perfectly formed; "a graceful but not yet fully perfected literary style"
precast
adj. of structural members especially of concrete; cast into form before being transported to the site of installation
shaped
adj. having the shape of; "a square shaped playing field"
worm-shaped, vermiform
adj. resembling a worm; long and thin and cylindrical

Antonyms (0)

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Research

The domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus or Felis catus)[1][4] is a small, typically furry, carnivorous mammal. They are often called house cats[5] when kept as indoor pets or simply cats when there is no need to distinguish them from other felids and felines. They are often valued by humans for companionship and for their ability to hunt vermin. There are more than seventy cat breeds recognized by various cat registries.

Cats are similar in anatomy to the other felids, with a strong flexible body, quick reflexes, sharp retractable claws and teeth adapted to killing small prey. Cat senses fit a crepuscular and predatory ecological niche. Cats can hear sounds too faint or too high in frequency for human ears, such as those made by mice and other small animals. They can see in near darkness. Like most other mammals, cats have poorer color vision and a better sense of smell than humans. Cats, despite being solitary hunters, are a social species, and cat communication includes the use of a variety of vocalizations (mewing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling and grunting) as well as cat pheromones and types of cat-specific body language.[6]

Cats have a high breeding rate.[7] Under controlled breeding, they can be bred and shown as registered pedigree pets, a hobby known as cat fancy. Failure to control the breeding of pet cats by spaying and neutering, as well as the abandonment of former household pets, has resulted in large numbers of feral cats worldwide, requiring population control.[8] In certain areas outside cats' native range, this has contributed, along with habitat destruction and other factors, to the extinction of many bird species. Cats have been known to extirpate a bird species within specific regions and may have contributed to the extinction of isolated island populations.[9] Cats are thought to be primarily responsible for the extinction of 87 species of birds,[10] and the presence of feral and free-ranging cats makes some otherwise suitable locations unsuitable for attempted species reintroduction.[11]

Because cats were venerated in ancient Egypt, they were commonly believed to have been domesticated there,[12] but there may have been instances of domestication as early as the Neolithic from around 9,500 years ago (7500 BC).[13] A genetic study in 2007[14] concluded that all domestic cats are descended from Near Eastern wildcats, having diverged around 8000 BC in the Middle East.[12][15] A 2016 study found that leopard cats were undergoing domestication independently in China around 5500 BC, though this line of partially domesticated cats leaves no trace in the domesticated populations of today.[16][17] A 2017 study confirmed that domestic cats are descendants of those first domesticated by farmers in the Near East around 9,000 years ago.[18][19]

As of a 2007 study, cats are the second-most popular pet in the U.S. by number of pets owned, behind freshwater fish.[20] In a 2010 study, they were ranked the third-most popular pet in the UK, after fish and dogs, with around 8 million being owned.[21]

Taxonomy and evolution

The domestic cat is a member of the cat family, the felids, which are a rapidly evolving family of mammals that share a common ancestor only 10–15 million years ago[22] and include lions, tigers, cougars and many others. Within this family, domestic cats (Felis catus) are part of the genus Felis, which is a group of small cats containing about seven species (depending upon classification scheme).[1][23] Members of the genus are found worldwide and include the jungle cat (Felis chaus) of southeast Asia, European wildcat (F. silvestris silvestris), African wildcat (F. s. lybica), the Chinese mountain cat (F. bieti), and the Arabian sand cat (F. margarita), among others.[24]

The domestic cat is believed to have evolved from the Near Eastern wildcat, whose range covers vast portions of the Middle East westward to the Atlantic coast of Africa.[25][26] Between 70,000 and 100,000 years ago the animal gave rise to the genetic lineage that eventually produced all domesticated cats,[27] having diverged from the Near Eastern wildcat around 8,000 BC in the Middle East.[12][15]

The domestic cat was first classified as Felis catus by Carl Linnaeus in the 10th edition of his Systema Naturae published in 1758.[1][2] Because of modern phylogenetics, domestic cats are usually regarded as another subspecies of the wildcat, F. silvestris.[1][28][29] This has resulted in mixed usage of the terms, as the domestic cat can be called by its subspecies name, Felis silvestris catus.[1][28][29] Wildcats have also been referred to as various subspecies of F. catus,[29] but in 2003, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature fixed the name for wildcats as F. silvestris.[30] The most common name in use for the domestic cat remains F. catus. Sometimes, the domestic cat has been called Felis domesticus[31] as proposed by German naturalist J. C. P. Erxleben in 1777,[32] but these are not valid taxonomic names and have been used only rarely in scientific literature.[33] A population of Transcaucasian black feral cats was once classified as Felis daemon (Satunin 1904) but now this population is considered to be a part of the domestic cat.[34]

All the cats in this genus share a common ancestor that is believed to have lived around 6–7 million years ago in the Near East (the Middle East).[35] The exact relationships within the Felidae are close but still uncertain,[36][37] e.g. the Chinese mountain cat is sometimes classified (under the name Felis silvestris bieti) as a subspecies of the wildcat, like the North African variety F. s. lybica.[28][36]

 
Ancient Egyptian sculpture of the cat goddess Bastet. The earliest evidence of felines as Egyptian deities comes from c. 3100 BC.

In comparison to dogs, cats have not undergone major changes during the domestication process, as the form and behavior of the domestic cat is not radically different from those of wildcats and domestic cats are perfectly capable of surviving in the wild.[38][39] Fully domesticated house cats often interbreed with feral F. catus populations,[40] producing hybrids such as the Kellas cat. This limited evolution during domestication means that hybridisation can occur with many other felids, notably the Asian leopard cat.[41] Several natural behaviors and characteristics of wildcats may have predisposed them for domestication as pets.[39] These traits include their small size, social nature, obvious body language, love of play and relatively high intelligence.[42]:12–17 Several small felid species may have an inborn tendency towards tameness.[39]

Cats have either a mutualistic or commensal relationship with humans. Two main theories are given about how cats were domesticated. In one, people deliberately tamed cats in a process of artificial selection as they were useful predators of vermin.[43] This has been criticized as implausible, because the reward for such an effort may have been too little; cats generally do not carry out commands and although they do eat rodents, other species such as ferrets or terriers may be better at controlling these pests.[28] The alternative idea is that cats were simply tolerated by people and gradually diverged from their wild relatives through natural selection, as they adapted to hunting the vermin found around humans in towns and villages.[28]

References

  1. a b c d e f Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Species Felis catus". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 534–535. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. a b Linnaeus, Carl (1758). Systema naturae (in Latin). 1 (10th ed.). Stockholm: Lars Salvius. p. 42. Archived from the original on 31 August 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2017 – via Biodiversity Heritage Library.
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  5. ^ HousecatAmerican Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 2010. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2010 – via Yahoo.com.
  6. a b Moelk, Mildred (April 1944). "Vocalizing in the House-cat; A Phonetic and Functional Study". The American Journal of Psychology57 (2): 184–205. doi:10.2307/1416947. JSTOR 1416947.
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  14. a b Driscoll, C. A.; Menotti-Raymond, M.; Roca, A. L.; Hupe, K.; Johnson, W. E.; Geffen, E.; Harley, E. H.; Delibes, M.; Pontier, D.; Kitchener, A. C.; Yamaguchi, N.; O'Brien, S. J.; Macdonald, D. W. (2007). "The Near Eastern Origin of Cat Domestication". Science317(5837): 519–523. Bibcode:2007Sci...317..519D. doi:10.1126/science.1139518. ISSN 0036-8075. PMC 5612713 Freely accessible. PMID 17600185.
  15. a b c "Oldest Known Pet Cat? 9,500-year-old Burial Found on Cyprus". National Geographic News. National Geographic Society. 2004. Archived from the original on 3 March 2007. Retrieved 6 March2007.
  16. ^ Vigne, J.-D.; Evin, A.; Cucchi, T.; Dai, L.; Yu, C.; Hu, S.; Soulages, N.; Wang, W.; Sun, Z. (2016). "Earliest 'Domestic' Cats in China Identified as Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)". PLOS One11 (1): e0147295. Bibcode:2016PLoSO..1147295V. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0147295. PMC 4723238 Freely accessible. PMID 26799955.
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  18. ^ Sample, Ian (19 June 2017). "Africats to the Purr-ymids: DNA study reveals long tale of cat domestication". theguardian.com. Archivedfrom the original on 19 June 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  19. a b Ottoni, Claudio; Van Neer, Wim; De Cupere, Bea; Daligault, Julien; Guimaraes, Silvia; Peters, Joris; Spassov, Nikolai; Prendergast, Mary E.; Boivin, Nicole; Morales-Muñiz, Arturo; Bălăşescu, Adrian; Becker, Cornelia; Benecke, Norbert; Boroneant, Adina; Buitenhuis, Hijlke; Chahoud, Jwana; Crowther, Alison; Llorente, Laura; Manaseryan, Nina; Monchot, Hervé; Onar, Vedat; Osypińska, Marta; Putelat, Olivier; Quintana Morales, Eréndira M.; Studer, Jacqueline; Wierer, Ursula; Decorte, Ronny; Grange, Thierry; Geigl, Eva-Maria (2017). "The palaeogenetics of cat dispersal in the ancient world". Nature Ecology & Evolution. Nature Publishing Group. 1 (7): 0139. doi:10.1038/s41559-017-0139. ISSN 2397-334X.
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